How can I prevent Valley Fever?
It’s very difficult to avoid breathing in the fungus Coccidioides in areas where it is common in the environment. People who live in these areas can try to avoid spending time in dusty places as much as possible. People who are at risk for severe valley fever (such as people who have weakened immune systems, pregnant women, people who have diabetes, or people who are Black or Filipino) may be able to lower their chances of developing the infection by trying to avoid breathing in the fungal spores.
The following are some common-sense methods that may be helpful to avoid getting valley fever. It is important to know that although these steps are recommended, they have not been proven to prevent valley fever.
- Try to avoid areas with a lot of dust like construction or excavation sites. If you cannot avoid these areas, wear a miner's mask (N-95 or more protective). Most paper masks will not fit well enough to guarantee a fully protective seal.
- Stay inside during dust storms and close your windows.
- Avoid activities that involve close contact to dirt or dust, including yard work, gardening, and digging.
- Use air filtration measures indoors.
- Clean skin injuries well with soap and water to reduce the chances of developing a skin infection, especially if the wound was exposed to dirt or dust.
- Take preventive antifungal medication if your healthcare provider says you need it. (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2014)
For more information, see CDC: Valley Fever Risk & Prevention
This page contains information about weather conditions that may help you avoid contracting valley fever if you live in an endemic area.